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How do you live in the moment and plan for the future?

by Andy Puddicombe

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Headspace is fantastic—I recommend it to anyone I can. I have one concern, though. I am getting a lot more competent in living in the present through being mindful. Which is clearly peaceful and a nice feeling. Now I worry, however, that I may be limiting the amount of time I am thinking about the future to my detriment. I am a business owner and need to be constantly innovating and looking forward in my position. I am not sure how to reconcile these two positions. Any ideas? Should I be setting aside time each day to contemplate the future and spend the rest of the day focusing on the present? The issue I see with that is sometimes your best ideas come at random moments.

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The first thing to say is that being in the present does not mean being separate from the past or the future. For example, we can be present when consciously reflecting on events from the past (as opposed to being caught up, distracted and overwhelmed by the past). Likewise, we can be present when consciously planning for the future (as opposed to being caught up, distracted and overwhelmed by thoughts of the future).

Meditation does not mean to negate or neglect thought. Instead, it gives us a framework in which we can easily identify that which is productive, creative and helpful and that which is unproductive, unhelpful and unpleasant. With practice, we learn to engage and enhance the former while loosening the grip and letting go of the latter.

It’s also important that we don’t neglect those things important to us. Once again, it really has less to do with what we’re doing and more to do with how we approach it and engage with it. So yes, most definitely, put all the time and attention into the business as you feel is necessary, but at the same time, try to apply that same soft, gentle and mindful quality which you apply to your meditation while you’re at it.

As a final thought, far from reducing creativity and efficiency, mindfulness has been shown time and again to increase everything from focus to memory to productivity and problem-solving. It’s for this reason so many large organizations around the world are now embracing mindfulness. So, far from hindering any business efforts, it is more likely to provide a helpful boost.

Warm wishes,

Learn more about making progress with your meditation practice:

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten-year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. His transition back to lay life in 2004 was no less extraordinary. Training briefly at Moscow State Circus, he returned to London where he completed a degree in Circus Arts with the Conservatoire of Dance and Drama, whilst drawing up the early plans for what was later to become Headspace.